‘OSH In School’ programme has not been fully understood — Lee
Borneo Post Online, 12 November 2013
SIBU: Many are still in the dark about ‘The OSH in school programme’ which had been introduced to more than a dozen schools to make schools safe places for study and work.
National Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye noted whenever the subject of safety was brought up about schools most if not all are inclined to talk about hygiene, cleanliness and making schools safe from social ills and negative external influences, such as drug addiction, gangsterism and crime.
“Very little is known about `OSH In School’ programme which covers another dimension and views school as a workplace, in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994.
“In the case of schools, the working people are teachers, administrative and other support staff while the ‘others’ are those affected by activities of the working people who primarily would be the students.
“The application of OSHA to schools as places of work aims to make them safe and healthy for teachers, students and visitors,” Lee expounded.
NIOSH had successfully introduced the programme as its corporate social responsibility (CSR) project to more than a dozen schools with the sponsorships from corporate organisations, he added.
“In an effort to make our schools safe places for study and work, NIOSH is offering to help the Education Ministry create awareness of safety and health in schools through the ‘OSH In School’ programme”.
“In the past, there were reports of accidents in schools, involving teachers, students and staff arising from collapse of roof or building structures, ceiling fans, goal posts and even toilets.
“Therefore, safety and health are of paramount importance to schools. Safety issues cover school buildings, toilets, canteens, laboratories and school fields and so on.
“Death comes in many guises so goes an old saying but to die from a falling goalpost is one of the least expected.
Yet such accidents can and had happened in schools,” Lee said, adding that such accidents were unacceptable more so in a school where parents trust their children to be safe.
Stressing such urgency, he cited the chemical explosion at SMK Datuk Lokman in Kampung Pandan in April this year following a chemical spill was another case in point which reinforces the need for school authorities to be aware of workplace safety.
Through the `OSH In School’ programme, NIOSH hopes to recommend to schools the importance of good OSH management as a solution to all problems related to OSH.
Hence, OSH awareness should not be limited to teachers and schools staff alone but be extended to the students, he stressed.
This can be done through OSH education, awareness, training and exhibitions which are NIOSH’s core businesses, he further pointed out.
Training and information dissemination are the main elements in ensuring that employees know the risk they are facing in the workplace and how to work safely in order to deal with the risks.
“Apart from that, instilling awareness at an early stage is of utmost importance to creating a safe and healthy workplace. It is hoped that the programme will benefit the students.
“Through this programme, schools will be more aware of the potential safety and health hazards and be more capable of dealing with them. The programme also helps to prepare the students to be more aware of OSH issues when they join the workplace,” Lee concluded.